Friday, December 13, 2002
No. 12 Ohio State 45, Penn State 6
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- About the only thing that held up No. 12
Ohio State was the weather.
After waiting out a thunderstorm that delayed the kickoff by 20
minutes, six Buckeyes scored touchdowns in Saturday's 45-6 victory
over Penn State that saddled Joe Paterno with his worst loss in his
35 seasons as a head coach.
The loss also gave Penn State it's first 1-4 start under
Paterno, matching the school's worst record through five games
since 1964 when Rip Engle was head coach.
Stuck on 318 career victories, Paterno remains six victories shy
of tying Bear Bryant for the most wins by a major college coach.
The margin eclipsed a 49-11 loss to UCLA in 1966 -- his first
season as the head coach of the Nittany Lions -- and a 44-6 loss to
Nebraska in the 1983 Kickoff Classic.
Ohio State moved to 4-0 for the seventh time in the last 10
Steve Bellisari was 10-of-17 for 203 yards, including a fluky
18-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Sanders. Derek Combs rushed for
86 yards on 23 carries and had a 1-yard TD run, and noseguard Mike
Collins returned a fumble 11 yards for another score.
The Nittany Lions trailed 17-6 early in the third quarter after
Eric McCoo skirted right end on a 2-yard run. But Ryan Primanti
missed the extra-point kick.
The Buckeyes put the game out of reach with three rapid-fire
First Combs capped an 11-play, 5-minute march with a 1-yard dive
to make it 24-6.
On the next play, Rashard Casey's pass intercepted by Nate
Clements, who returned it 12 yards to the Penn State 40. A 19-yard
pass to Drew Carter helped set up Jerry Westbrooks' 3-yard TD run.
Westbrooks carried cornerback Bryan Scott along for the final 5
yards on the sweep around left end.
Casey, who has been replaced in every game so far, was pulled in
favor of backup Matt Senneca. On his second play, Senneca was hit
by defensive end Brent Johnson while setting up to pass and
fumbled, with Collins picking up the ball and rumbling into the end
zone for a 38-6 lead.
Ohio State forced three turnovers and limited Penn State to 93
yards rushing and 120 yards passing.
After winning its first coin toss of the year, the Nittany Lions
kicked off to the Buckeyes and were behind 7-0 almost immediately.
Taking over at the 8 after a clipping penalty, the Buckeyes
controlled the line of scrimmage. Combs gained 12, 8 and 10 yards
on the first three plays, and Bellisari rolled left and hit a
wide-open Chad Cacchio for 35 yards. Jamar Martin capped the
10-play drive by burrowing in from the 1.
Penn State's first-possession problems continued. In its four
previous games, Penn State punted twice, had a punt blocked and
fumbled the ball away the first time it got its hands on the ball.
After netting 6 yards on two runs and a pass, the Lions punted
and the Buckeyes took over at midfield. On third-and-8, Bellisari
hit Ken-Yon Rambo on a crossing pattern - two defensive backs ran
into each other to eliminate themselves from the play - with Rambo
racing to a 38-yard gain at the Penn State 10.
Combs lost 8 yards on a sweep when he ran into defensive end
Jason Kurpeikis, but the Buckeyes came up with a big break for the
Bellisari's pass for Rambo at the goal line hung in the air,
with Bruce Branch cutting inside Rambo to go for the interception.
The pass bounced off his hands and into those of teammate James
Boyd, who tipped the ball into the air. Sanders reached out and
pulled in the loose ball for the 18-yard scoring play.
Freshman Sammy Maldonado scored a touchdown in the final minute
to close the scoring.
Casey finished 7-of-18 for 94 yards with one interception. Eric
McCoo, who gained 211 yards on 22 carries a year ago in Penn
State's 23-10 win over Ohio State, led the Nittany Lions with 34
yards on 13 attempts.
The game was delayed for several minutes late in the game while
emergency personnel tended to Penn State cornerback Adam
Taliaferro. He was injured on a running play.
Before the game, Ohio State retired the No. 31 of Heisman Trophy
winner Vic Janowicz.
|JoePa's Nittany Lions threw in the towel early against Ohio State.|